It has been very cold, at least by Florida standards it’s been cold. Since Christmas Day the thermometer on my sheltered lanai has been registering somewhere between 44F and 48F degrees at about 7.30am. That’s the latest time that I usually get out there for my morning quiet time. So there have actually been a couple of mornings that, even bundled up in flannel PJ’s with a warm sweater and my cozy wrap blanket, it was too cold to enjoy my quiet time outside.
I do not “do cold” very well, although if the sun is shining I can certainly handle it better than if the weather is also gray and miserable or raining. I spent the first twenty five years of my life in London, England before moving to live in Italy. After experiencing warm weather and sunshine for most of the year for many years I have not tolerated cold or gray very well since then.
My experience has also been that warmth and sunshine affects the population and the whole culture and way of life of said population. The English are well know for their “stiff upper lip” and their reservation of character, which can often be taken as a form of stand offishness. They tend to keep themselves to themselves and this tends to lead other nationalities to think of them as “unfriendly”.
Travelling on the London underground train service or in the characteristic red double-deck buses of London City, you will meet a sea of stony faces and solid silence. When I lived and worked there I would definitely feel dismal and gray inside my soul by the end of the working week. I had to put a lot of energy into getting back into my up beat mode over the weekend. In another posting I will share a poem that I wrote about this when I lived in London back in the early eighties.
But, get on a train or a bus in Italy and there is animation, the noise of many conversations and much gesticulating and laughter. In fact, you will usually be drawn into whatever conversation is going on next to you as people turn round to include you. I guess that would be a good way of describing life in Italy – inclusive. People want you in their lives and they want to be part of your life too.
And then in Italy there is so much colour. People dress colourfully and with great pizzazz. People talk colourfully, with their hands and facial expressions as well as with their voices. Houses are colourful, especially in the south or on the many islands dotted along the long coastline of this peninsula country. It is not abnormal to find many shades of green, blue, pink, ochre, and yellow along the street and in “parco’s” (what we would refer to as sub-divisions here in America). And on top of everything the sun shines – a lot:-). It is very easy to stay happy and up beat in such a climate and environment.
So, back to days of cold here in Florida. I have been somewhat house-closeted and have not been able to spend much time outside in my lanai. And this has affected my ability to write, to let the Muse have her way with me. I did go to my computer a couple of times with the intention of writing, but being stuck in doors gets me feeling stuck in my heart and head and the words just would not flow.
Even though it is somewhat grey today (we have even had a little rain), the thermometer is registering 66F degrees and I can comfortably sit outside. I am once again surrounded by God-given nature and I breath real fresh air. It’s almost as though the oxygen releases my thought processes and I feel the ideas begin to run around in my head. Heating and air conditioned air just block my creative juices. I am grateful for warmer weather that allows the Muse to come out and play.